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Azerbaijan: International Religious Freedom Report for 2011

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

The constitution provides for religious freedom; however, other laws and policies restricted religious freedom in practice. Most religious groups met without government interference; however, authorities reportedly monitored and raided some religious services, confiscated religious materials, and harassed and detained some members of Muslim and Christian groups. The government considers some of these groups “nontraditional” because they lack a long history in the country. There are also burdensome registration requirements for religious groups that the government enforced. Legislation passed during the year increased restrictions on religious groups. However, in practice, the government did not demonstrate a trend toward either improvement or deterioration in respect for and protection of the right to religious freedom.

There were reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. There was occasional hostility toward groups that proselytized, particularly Jehovah’s Witnesses, evangelical Christians, and other missionary groups.

As part of its overall policy to promote and defend religious freedom, the U.S. government discussed religious freedom with the government, various nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and religious leaders. 

To read the full report

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